10 Relaxing Hobbies for Anxiety
Do you have an anxiety coping strategy? We always advise all our clients that managing their anxiety is not just about therapy but creating an improved lifestyle so that anxiety is less likely to occur. We encourage our clients to create a sleep routine and strike a good work/life balance. This means looking at relaxing hobbies for anxiety as a way of eliminating stress and helping to focus the mind into an activity that they love.
Anxiety is never just about the presenting problem it is a mixture of issues. If you drink too much, stay up late, work too hard or have a bad relationship it is going to take its toll. You need to learn to relax, chill out and look to create a holistic lifestyle change to see improvements.
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We encourage people to find relaxing hobbies for anxiety because they help to reduce stress levels and keep the mind occupied. When you are allowing your mind to focus elsewhere you stop thinking inwardly and worrying. Over time the regular relaxation starts to lower background levels of anxiety and before you know it the problem starts to fade away.
So what hobbies should people with anxiety choose? Well, we’ve picked ten today to get you started on your mental health wellness journey. There are of course hundreds of others to choose from so don’t feel that you have to stick to just these. Find something that absorbs you, that helps you to feel calmer and is a positive coping mechanism.
Hobbies to Reduce Anxiety – Crafting
Crafting in recent years has become a huge business as people look to channel their talents and skills into creating something beautiful. Crafting is not one single topic but a huge array of different crafts that are bundled under the one name. In fact, you are spoiled for choice when it comes to choosing something to learn.
- Jewellery Making
- Flower arranging
CNN talk about crafting as a great anti-depressant as well as almost like a meditative tool that can help people to manage their anxiety. By the sheer volume of craft stores that have popped up over the last few years, this area is big business.
Getting started is easy and in many cases doesn’t involve any formal classes. YouTube creators have helped as there are now hundreds of thousands of videos to help you out. So will you be the latest sewing expert or jeweller of the future? Why not head online and choose something that suits your budget and get going.
This sewing machine is a great entry model at a brilliant price and designed for adults.
Hobbies to Improve Mental Health – Yoga or Meditation
If you are looking for relaxing hobbies for anxiety then Yoga is the perfect gentle exercise for you. Although primarily it is used to keep you supple through the stretching it also has considerable benefits when it comes to stress reduction.
Yoga has been shown to lower your heart rate, decrease your blood pressure and reduce your rate of breathing helping to calm and relax you.
The deep breathing, in particular, is a great way of reducing the fight or flight response which is behind your anxious feelings. Plus the meditative element at the end of the session can also slow down a racing mind. When the two are combined it does a great job of reducing anxiety symptoms.
Yoga is also a very easy entry hobby to begin as it doesn’t cost very much to get started. You can purchase a product like the Lixada Yoga Set which contains everything you need including the mat and stretching block and strap and be up and running straight away.
Activities for Anxiety – Cooking
We all have to eat but how many of us find time to actually cook amazing meals from scratch? Learning to push the envelope and cooking beyond your comfort zone can have considerable benefits when it comes to your mental health.
Firstly the very act of cooking something requires you to focus your attention span on the task at hand. You can’t let your mind wander too far because you need to prepare the food within a certain time frame. You are also juggling a number of activities at once so your mind has little time to worry about what you are feeling or thinking.
The whole experience is immersive and involves all the senses taste, smell, hearing, sound and touch. When your mind is totally absorbed the anxiety tends to fade away. Plus when you make something great it boosts your confidence and self-esteem and makes you feel like you have control.
Pick a recipe book buy your ingredients and start to think about what you could learn to cook to help your anxiety levels drop. We love Joe’s 30 Minute Meals.
Purposeful Activity for Anxiety – Photography
Photography is an interesting way of helping anxiety as it helps you to express your feelings depending on what you choose to take pictures of.
As relaxing hobbies for anxiety go mastering photography can be relatively complex if you go into detail. There are so many considerations and settings on a camera that all enable you to get a different shot. Immersing yourself in learning how to take a good picture is certainly absorbing.
It can also help you to get a different perspective on the world as you assess the subjects you want to take pictures of and look at them through different eyes. Plus it gets you outside into the world. Very few photographers are just taking pictures of their home. They are going out into the world and either looking at nature, taking pictures of other people or taking photos of their environment.
There are a huge number of cameras and equipment to choose from but if you are starting out the Canon EOS 4000D DSLR Camera is a great place to begin. Plus you can use this camera for vlogging.
Activities to Calm Anxiety – Reading
A hobby doesn’t have to involve learning something completely new. A hobby is just something that you do in your own free time for pleasure and reading is the perfect activity for quietening your mind.
When we take time out to read a good book we allow our minds and imaginations drift to somewhere else. We become absorbed in the story and our anxious minds quieten. Finding time to read in a quiet space is a great way to take time out and just relax and enjoy a great story.
The University of Sussex found that reading can reduce stress by up to 68%. As stress is one of the major reasons for anxiety reading could have a considerable impact if done regularly.
There is a book genre out there for everyone. Choose to read something that captivates you and transports you to somewhere else. As a hypnotherapist, I might choose The Hypnotists Love Story which is in the bestseller lists at the moment.
Therapeutic Hobbies – Art
If you have heard of art therapy then you already know that drawing or painting or simply expressing yourself through your pictures is already a way of managing mental health. It is known to reduce stress and anxiety, whilst increasing confidence and self-esteem.
Even better it can offer a window into your subconscious thoughts. When you start to use art as a form of expression you may get a greater level of self-awareness about what might be happening in the back of your mind. It is a great form of communication that doesn’t involve traditional speech.
Plus there is a great sense of accomplishment when you have finished a picture or painting as well as enjoyment whilst you are creating it. Anything that makes you happier is going to help you feel better.
All you need to do is decide what medium you would like to use. Watercolours, oil paints, pencils or even acrylics can be used so choose what appeals to you. We love The Artina Easel Set With paints and brushes to get you started.
Stress Relieving Hobbies – Writing and Journaling
Perfect relaxing hobbies for anxiety include writing and journaling. Both can be a great help where anxiety is concerned but they work in slightly different ways.
Writing stories, poems, plays or even a full-blown novel can help you to use the creative side of your mind. This is important as anxiety tends to hijack this part of your mind and causes overthinking and worrying about things that haven’t happened yet. When this creative side is fully occupied with another task such as writing it doesn’t have enough time to focus on its anxiety-provoking activities.
Whilst journaling allows you to examine your feels and spot any triggers that might be causing problems with your anxiety. When you are using a journal you are taking time out to examine what might be creating a problem in your life and coming up with solutions on how that might be fixed.
The Legend Planner can help you not only to understand more about your anxiety triggers but can also get you organised at the same time.
Calming Hobbies – Walking
If we were to pick the one hobby that is totally free (apart from the cost of shoes) and has the quickest benefits to helping anxiety then we would have to choose walking as our exercise of choice.
Walking can have big benefits where anxiety is concerned including:
- Releasing feel-good endorphins
- Removing excess adrenaline
- Getting your body moving and making you fitter
- Altering your breathing
- Distracting you from your worries
You can also combine walking with mindfulness if you want to take it up a notch and teach yourself to concentrate on the here and now rather than allowing your mind to worry about the past or start planning for the future.
If you want to move a little more and push yourself a little further then hiking is a more extreme form of walking. There you might need a little more equipment but the benefits are similar. Just pull your Riemont hiking boots on and plan your route.
It is little wonder that most governments during Coronavirus lockdown allowed people out for some exercise once a day because of the huge benefits to mental health.
Hobbies to Help with Depression & Anxiety – Gardening
Relaxing hobbies for anxiety are great when they involve getting out in nature and the fresh air. So finally, last but not least what about gardening? Working outside and planning a garden is rewarding and a great way of reducing stress levels.
When you are digging up a garden, pulling up weeds and raking and mowing you are certainly doing strenuous activities that are using up excess adrenaline. You are also doing activities that can help lower your stress levels which means lower anxiety.
You also need to consider that watching something that you have planted grow and flourish and bloom creates a great sense of achievement. Plus there is the pure pleasure of looking at the beautiful flowers you have planted or eating the produce that you have grown. No wonder that gardening helps with anxiety and depression.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a garden at your home as there are other ways of gardening. In the UK there are allotments that you can apply for to grow and tend your produce. There are also community gardens that you can volunteer to look after. Plus if you have an elderly neighbour why not help them with their plot and do a good deed at the same time.
The Crenova gardening set has everything you need to begin your garden plans.
Relaxing hobbies for anxiety don’t have to be expensive or complicated but they do need to be ones that make you happy. Find something to occupy your mind, lower your stress levels and take time out and just watch how helpful that can be in your anxiety management program.
Discover Your Anxiety Triggers with our Anxiety Printables
Discover your anxiety triggers and work out the best methods to challenge anxious thoughts with our anxiety tracker printables. We have created 8 printable templates to help you track your thoughts each day and identify your stress points. The printables also include helpful tips to change your thought processes, a mood diary sheet, positive affirmations and distorted thinking cues. You can pick up these printables in our online shop to help change the way you think.
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